From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up–Now that his father is in jail, nothing seems to be going right for 15-year-old Tyrell. His mother's refusal to work and her stint with welfare fraud have forced them into homelessness and life in a roach-infested shelter in Hunts Point. At the shelter, Tyrell soon realizes that his attraction to another resident, Jasmine, could derail his dreams of a future with his girl, Novisha. Torn between the needs of the women in his life and his seven-year-old brother, Tyrell is determined to stay clean as he agonizes over creating a new life for his family. Booth combines the rhythm of raw street lingo with the harsh realities of an inner-city urban life to illuminate the labyrinth of Tyrell's world. As he struggles to escape this circle of poverty, he must also battle dual temptations of sexual frustration and the easy money he could make as a drug dealer. This is a thrilling, fast-paced novel whose strong plot and array of vivid, well-developed characters take readers on an unforgettable journey through the gritty streets of New York City's South Bronx. At its heart is the painful choice the teen must make as he realizes the effect of his mother's failure to do right by their family.–Caryl Soriano, New York Public Library
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*Starred Review* "You don't hardly get to have no kinda childhood in the hood." At 15, Tyrell is trying to keep his little brother in school and safe in their roach-infested shelter in the Bronx. He has dropped out of school, and Moms wants him to sell drugs to make money. But Tyrell is too smart. He doesn't want to end up in prison like his dad, so he tries to organize a neighborhood party to raise money. His girlfriend, Novisha, isn't happy that Tyrell has dropped out. She loves him, and they make out, but he respects her wish to remain a virgin. Booth, who was born and raised in the Bronx, is now a social worker there, and her first novel is heartbreakingly realistic. There are some plot contrivances--including Tyrell's stumbling upon Novisha's diary--but the immediate first-person narrative is pitch perfect: fast, funny, and anguished (there's also lots of use of then
-word, though the term is employed in the colloquial sense, not as an insult). Unlike many books reflecting the contemporary street scene, this one is more than just a pat situation with a glib resolution; it's filled with surprising twists and turns that continue to the end. Hazel RochmanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved